SPOTLIGHT: Extra Riders on Tractors are a High Risk for Fatality

SPOTLIGHT: Extra Riders on Tractors are a High Risk for Fatality


Ever heard the phrase, “If one is good, two must be better?” Kids on and off the farm are often attracted to tractors and ask the driver to “ride along.” This may apply to many scenarios, but not so when it comes to tractors. Transportation incidents, which include tractor overturns, are the leading cause of death for farmers and farm workers, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Dr. Charles Schwab is a Professor and Extension Safety Specialist with Iowa State University. He provides research and leadership helping to make Iowa farms a safer place to work and live. September 20 – 26, 2020 is National Farm Safety and Health Week. This is an opportunity to refresh your skills and learn something new. Keep reading to learn more from Dr. Schwab on tractor safety with a one seat – one rider rule.

Extra Riders on Tractors Are a High Risk for Fatality

Charles Schwab
Professor of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering
Extension and Outreach Responsibilities
Iowa State University

AMES, Iowa – The National Children’s Center estimates one child dies about every three days in an agriculture-related incident. One common incident where children are harmed is when they are an extra rider on a farm or lawn care tractor.

“Tractor rides have an intrinsic appeal for kids and a willingness for adults to allow them, the well-intended activity of a child riding on the tractor with a parent or grandparent is an extremely dangerous situation that too often ends in death.” – Charles Schwab

Around one-fourth of tractor deaths each year are from runovers. These usually happen when an extra rider falls under the back tractor wheel and is mortally crushed. An easy saying to remember is: “One seat, one rider,” and as adults it is our responsibility to keep youth safe by not allowing them to be the extra rider on tractors. Be firm and say no.

“I am the kid who did not beg for a ride on the tractor. Not being an extra rider kept me safe, I know that was a factor. I am the kid you told to stick to my beliefs and be brave. Yes, I am the kid whose life you did save.”

Marilyn Adams, President and Founder
Farm Safety 4 Just Kids